New threats to their small town, both in the present and the future, again send squabbling frenemies Alex, Herbert and Sammi—aka the intrepid AlienSlayers—through the wormhole in Alex’s backyard.
It’s all due to an elaborate scheme concocted by AeroStar, Sammi’s embittered 111-year-old future self. On the one hand, a century from now, the friendly aliens of Merwinsville have been stranded on the dark side of the moon while giant wreckers destroy their earthly Utopia. On the other, a time-traveling alien has sown giant, ambulatory, meat-eating plants in the present town’s community garden. Hurtling back and forth through time and space to the rescue puts the trio of sixth-graders in the way of a nonstop barrage of blaster fire from AeroStar’s Utility Tiara, a horde of attacking MinionBots, chases, narrow escapes and reunions with previously met allies. That’s not to mention poop, pizza and Sally Field jokes, practically superfluous Captain Underpants references, and multiple cascades of slime and alien vomit. Though billed as “Yet another novel in cartoons,” the many line drawings more often reflect the action than add to it; most of the tale is told in short cliffhanger chapters that alternate relentlessly between then and now.
The farce is frantic to the point of being labored, but there’s still plenty of room in the Captain’s Underpants for this gang of fellow travelers. (Science fiction. 10-12)